My Landlord broke my lease agreement- now what?
You have found a commercial property that is perfect for your new business. You feel relieved because you have been searching for just the right place for so long. But after a few months your landlord breaches the lease. What can you do? What are your rights?
Commercial lease broken by landlord
Before you sign a lease, you should ensure that it is covered by The Landlord and Tenant Act 1954. This ensures that under certain conditions tenants have the right to renew a lease as it comes to an end. You should also check whether the lease contains a break clause.
A break clause is an official date in the lease agreement (agreed by both parties) where the lease can be broken. A landlord can only use the break clause if both parties agree, but a tenant can exercise the break clause by giving notice which is usually 6 months before the break date.
Having a break clause written into the lease will give you more flexibility with regards to moving your business to alternative premises if and when the need may arise.
Talk to your solicitor. Make sure you know what the lease entails.
Back to the present.
Commercial landlords must maintain the property and insure the building. They must also allow the tenant adequate access to the property without interfering in the business.
If a landlord breaches the conditions of a commercial lease, it is usually because they are either: not maintaining the property adequately, have failed to insure the building, or have blocked the tenants access to the property.
If the landlord is breaching the commercial lease, the first thing the tenant should do is contact the landlord in writing, explaining that they are in breach of contract. This will help if the landlord is taken to court at a later date.
Trying to sort out your differences outside of court is always the preferred option. But if your landlord is being unresponsive to your requests it may be the only way to move forward.
If you take your landlord to court and they are found to be in breach of contract then they could be ordered to carry out essential repairs and you could even be awarded damages.
However, court proceeding should only be undertaken if all other attempts have failed. It can be a lengthy, expensive process.
Remember. Always talk to your landlord. Try to maintain an open dialogue at all times.